Delegates were able to register for conference in the Shropshire Mines Trust marquee outside Norbury Village Hall (Boo Vernon).
Despite the Coronavirus crisis and non-relaxation of restrictions the Club was still able to hold the Conference, but in a scaled back socially distanced form. However, We are unable to offer camping on site (luckily there was plenty of camping and accommodation sites in the area) and were not able to offer a social event on the Friday evening.
Socially distanced trips and talks were able to go ahead to a variety of sites. However, the talks proved to be very technologically challenging - how to provide a mix of 'live' talks in the hall with zoom presentations with some delegates watching in the hall and others on zoom! All in a remote village hall in Shropshire. Special thanks must go to Peter Eggleston for coming up with an excellent workable solution (after many sleepless nights).
The 'Tech' team did a great job, setting up the AV kit to allow both 'live' & zoom presentations in the hall (Boo Vernon).
Malachite and Azurite copper staining in Huglith Mine, Habberley (Graham Smith).
An SRT trip in Huglith Mine (Bartek Biela)..
As it was the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Club the theme for the conference was "60 Years of Mining History Projects". The aim being to look at projects in the mining community that have developed with the growth of industrial archaeology and mine exploration during this period, along with the hopes of what the future might bring.
Steve Holding and other trip leaders did a huge amount of work organising underground trips (which varied from dry, walk-in to multi pitch SRT), surface visits and walks, often with last minute negotiations with landowners for access and places to park. Due to COVID restrictions people were having to travel to sites individually or in their 'bubbles' which added extra pressure on limited spaces. Most of the trips were concentrated in Shropshire and the Welsh Borderlands, but a few visits further afield were organised either side of the main conference.
A steady stream of delegates undertook the ride in Chapel Shaft on Paul Thorne's winch, accessing the 40 yard level of Snailbeach mine. Some opted to make use of the winch for just one journey, either making an SRT trip in to the mine and out on the winch (sensible) or winch in and climb out!
Stuart Tomlins did a great job driving the winch at Chapel Shaft - although, over the weekend the brolly doubled up as protection from the scorching sunshine and torrential rain! (Graham Smith).
Andy Kennelly acted as banksman, helping delegates off/on the winch and in/out of the shaft. (Graham Smith).
The landing stage at the 40 yard level (specially constructed for the event) was a very wet location, despite the construction of tarp 'shield'. So the Onsetter (Paul Thorne in the picture) did get a tad damp! (Graham Smith)..
Rob Vernon coordinated the lecture programme, and managed to arrange for an interesting series of talks, including overseas contributions from Spain, Portugal and Lithuania.
Details of the talks can be found on the NAMHO 2021 Talks page. They were recorded and will be available online to conference delegates, speakers and helpers. The Club secretary will send all those registered as attending the conference a link and password to access them, when available.
David Adams (Club founder) standing beside the conference lectern - specially made by Andy Harris for the event to mark the 60th Anniversary of the SCMC. (Kelvin Lake).
To everyone who worked so hard to make this conference happen - judging from the feedback from delegates, you also made it a very successful and enjoyable conference, despite the COVID restrictions. Also, a special thanks to the speakers and delegates who had the confidence to travel to Shropshire to join in or take the time to participate online. Thank you.
It was also great to welcome David Adams to the conference on the Sunday. As the founder of the Shropshire Caving & Mining Club 60 years ago, it was especially nice to see that he felt up to attending the event despite suffering from the advanced stages of motor neuron disease. Although unable to speak he was greeted by numerous Club members and was able to have written conversation with them. Well done David.
Best of luck to Cleveland Mining Heritage Society who are organising the 2022 NAMHO Conference at Grosmont, North Yorkshire. Make a note in your diary now, I hope to see you there!
Chair, Shropshire Caving & Mining Club